Friday, October 26, 2012

State of the Garden Report

It's been a great year for peppers in my yard, but the season is just about at its close.

We'll be pulling up the pepper plants (see pathetic plants in photo below) this weekend, because the cool nights have taken their toll on the heat-loving plants. It won't help that the forecast includes a dip down into the mid-thirties within the next few days.

Other plants due for removal this weekend include the last of the eggplants.

If all goes well, I'll get the garlic planted - it's time - but it's probably better if I don't absolutely count on getting that done.

At this point, most of my cool-weather crops are looking very promising. The broccoli will be big enough to harvest soon!

The extra-cold weather heading my way can only help.  There are enough of these in the garden this year to make several good meals-worth of the central heads.

If this winter is anything like last winter and we don't get any hard freezes (with temperatures down into the teens or below), we could get more meals from the little side-shoots, too.

Joe, though, is looking forward to the cabbage harvest. He LOVES sauerkraut, and last year he wasn't able to make enough from the cabbage that was available.

This year, we have a dozen of our own plants to add to any harvested from the little farm where we volunteer on the weekends.

He will have to wait a few more weeks for the cabbage, but the first heads should be ready by Thanksgiving. At our house, the best batches of sauerkraut are the ones that are made in cooler weather. I don't know if that is because the whole process procedes at a slower pace or if it's because the mix of bacteria/fungi in the air is different.

Regardless, we've figured out that he needs to make his sauerkraut in fall, rather than in spring, even though we can grow cabbages that mature in April.

We've been eating some of the lettuces and spinach (not pictured), too. I've fed some of the tiny lettuces - that were pulled to thin the bed - to my bunnies, but I'm planning for most of the lettuce to feed the humans in the house.

This year's carrot patch is looking like it could be the best I've ever planted in this yard. If I am really lucky, next year when it's time to plant the fall carrots I'll be able to decipher my notes about what I did with the soil to make this happen. It's always great to be able to replicate a success.

Weather reports are calling for some fairly stunning storms (can I use the plural form, when what's really supposed to happen is a collision/combination of two?) north and east of here. I'm hoping for the best possible outcome for everyone in the affected areas!

May your hatches be safely battened down, your larders and water-stores sufficient to meet the need, and everyone make it through un-injured.


  1. Every time I read your blog I get really hungry.Did you ever read that book about the lady who took a year off and ate everything within 30 miles or something like that? Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable Miracle? I bet you could pull it off.

    I was just reading to the kids today "Big House in the Woods" . (paraphrased) "Ma pulled all the cabbages out when the frost came and stored them in the corners, she strang up the bell peppers. Laura and Mary sat on the pumpkins like furniture and played with their dolls. "

    Thanks for your tips on the soil about the bell peppers might try that next year. Need to work on my soil over the winter and try and build it up.

    Maybe I should plant something. What would you suggest that is dead easy and not too late to plant?

  2. Atlanta Tree Pro,

    My kids also liked hearing those "Little House" books. That world seems very far from this one! I have a copy of the Kingsolver book, too. I could probably find a lot of our food within 30 miles, but we'd be short on bread. I haven't seen any wheat or other grain (I'm not counting sweet corn) in my county.

    The winter is a great time to work on improving soil. I am running behind on getting cover crops in, but I don't think it's too late.

    It's also not too late for garlic, onions, and shallots. I'm also planning a very late patch of spinach that we most likely won't get to eat until nearly spring, assuming a very hard freeze doesn't kill it before then. If you are a little further south, actually in Atlanta, you have more planting options than we do in Cobb County. You would be able to plant many more kinds of greens, and maybe even carrots to mature in spring.

    Hope that helps!


  3. Everything looks great,but my goodness,I can't get my eyes off of that carrot patch. By the way,I'm in South Fulton and I was thinking about pulling my eggplants out,but they still have flowers on them....even after all of these cold nights. Can you believe that? I'm thinking about digging them up and bringing a few inside.

  4. AtlMom - I know, the carrot patch has me floored, too. One of the great things about gardening is the occasional, really amazing successes. They go a long way toward making up for the "bad years."

    In South Fulton, you have at least two extra weeks beyond what Cobb County has, and most years it has three or more, before an actual freeze hits. Your eggplants may have enough time to make one more tiny harvest - the good news is that the forecast is for warmer weather, and possibly a little rain.

    Hope your garden is doing well!



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